I grew up with a constant fear of heart attacks, because a close relative of my family—a woman—died suddenly of it, and I never—as a child—got over the fear of my mother or aunts going the same way.

Much later, when I studied Energy Medicine, my fears were confirmed when I learned that while we women pay attention to statistics telling us that breast cancer is the number one killer of women aged 45-55, few of us realize that the overall number one killer of women is heart related. This happens because women’s heart attacks are “silent”. The symptoms are not acute chest pain as in men, but a dull aching discomfort which comes and goes with no apparent explanation and is often misdiagnosed as gastrointestinal problems. It is vital that we women, especially those of us who are postmenopausal, be aware both of the uniqueness of our heart and of the hidden dangers surrounding its health.

Furthermore, I understood that the heart is an organ of equal, if not greater, importance than the brain. For starters, the heart’s electromagnetic current is much stronger than that of the brain. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Heart is the organ where Shen, our psycho-spiritual being, resides. The heart, then, stores the spirit.

Orthodox medicine is finding that the heart is an intricate network of neurons and neurotransmitters similar to those found in the brain, which makes the heart able to act independently of the brain, to learn, remember, feel and sense. Most importantly, the heart has its own hormone, oxytocin, which we know as the “love” or bonding hormone!

And guess what! A recent study has shown that women deal with stress differently from men, by bonding–with other women, children, etc. Therefore our hearts also act different than men’s hearts, and slowly the orthodox medical community is beginning to respond to this difference by designing specific heart tests for women.

There is much we women can do to help lower the possibility of a heart attack:

  1. Add supplements like Folic Acid, B Vitamins, Magnesium and Calcium which lower stress and high blood pressure.
  2. Add Herbs to your daily regime: they are gentle tonics if taken on a daily basis. Here’s a few important ones:
  • Hawthorne and Green Tea (anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory) Motherwort, Dandelion (diuretics reducing blood pressure
  • Garlic (reduces cholesterol and promotes circulation)
  • Siberian Ginseng (tones up the heart muscle/helps deal with stress), Ginger (promotes blood circulation)
  • Guggul specific herb for reducing cholesterol.
  1. Most importantly, as Dr. Christiane Northrup suggests in her book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom (highly recommended), . “I’ve come to believe that the best way to protect the heart is to live with passion and joy…”

I would add that love, bonding, being intensely involved in community with one or more other persons, are factors that keep our hearts youthful and strong.

Above all:  Cultivate positive feelings of love.
Deal with stress by being creative.
Practice Yoga and take long walks in nature.
Laugh a lot. Laughter speaks directly to the heart.
Practice deep breathing and try meditating—-and listen to your heart/watch the changes!

If you have questions on any of the above herbs and their use, please contact me:

Ask Charoula about Herbs

All answers are posted on our website E-Wellness.com, on the following Friday.

Thanks for reading!

Charoula Dontopoulos
Certified Herbalist
Holistic Health Advisor
BC Polarity Therapy Practitioner

 


Questions and Answers

Q: How should we be taking these herbs? As a tea? Is a tincture stronger?  Or maybe as Standardized Extracts?

A: Excellent question!   Of course, as a practicing and creative Herbalist (!!), my number one suggestion is:

        a.

  • First make a tea. We want to start by testing the herbs and their effect on us individually. A mild tea of each of the herbs, one teaspoon of herb per cup, would be my first try.  Leave enough time between the different herbs, to see the differences between all of them.
  • If all is ok then proceed mixing them up, two at a time, then three , etc. and have a stronger tea, watch the effects, and – if all is still okay, then:
  • Proceed to mix them all together into a delicious tea!

b.

  • Try to sense what the effect of the tea is: Do you feel it is making a difference? Mild difference? Medium or stronger?
  • If you are not satisfied, then I suggest a tincture. They are much more effective. You can just buy the different tinctures individually, and try them out, following the directions on the bottles, just as we did with the teas—and eventually mix them together.*
  • I would not try Standardized Extracts unless absolutely necessary.

Q: I have a very busy life, and not much time for friends and relationships.  I have recently been diagnosed with certain heart issues.  So you would say the two above are related?

A: It might be.  If I were you, I would try to ask myself first!  Spend 10-20 minutes in between stuff, and let your heart AND your mind guide you to the answer. People are afraid of the word “meditate”—but it is no more and no less than being quiet for 20 minutes and following your inner thoughts—they will clear stuff out and help.

………………………………

Please do consult your Holistic Health Practitioner, and most importantly your Herbalist before you use any herb, whether as a tincture, a tea, or a standardized extract.  Herbs are powerful!!!

I would love to hear more of your questions on any of our blogs, and specifically on any Issues you are wondering about!  Thanks for sending in your questions!

Ask Charoula about Herbs

Charoula